The announcement 4 days ago (see China MOA: 1st Reported Outbreak Of African Swine Fever (ASF)) that ASF - which is not swine flu, as it has been widely called by the media - had finally made it to China was not entirely unexpected.
This devastating, highly contagious, hemorrhagic disease of pigs - which is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa - has made serious inroads into Eastern Europe and Russia over the past decade.Reaching China - the world's largest pig producer and consumer - was considered just a matter of time (see FAO 2018 Rapid Risk Assessment African Swine Fever threatens People's Republic of China).
While not a human health concern, ASF could severely impact pork production in China, which provides much of the animal protein for the dietary needs of 1.4 Billion Chinese. It could also spread from there, to other Asian nations.There is currently no effective vaccine, and the virus maintained in the wild by transmission between wild boar and ticks. Spread of the disease has been linked to the movement of wild boar both in Africa and in Europe (see BMJ Vet. African swine fever in wild boar in Europe: a notable challenge).
Yesterday's market headlines read `Pig Stocks Slump on China's First African Swine Fever Outbreak', and over the past 24 hours Chinese language papers have been filled with stories on `非洲猪瘟'; African Swine Fever.
Typical of the reporting is this from Tech-food.com.
Comprehensive, accurate, professional, timely industry news
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural: African swine fever does not infect humans! But for the great harm pig production
Time: 2018-8-7 10:32:53 Source: Chinese pig Network Authors:(Continue . . . .)
Tecently, China's first case of the outbreak of African swine fever, a disease of unknown cause that a lot of people do not understand the panic of the virus, as well as online rumors fled. Head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural August 3 said that African swine fever is not a zoonotic disease does not infect people. After the outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural grade Ⅱ emergency response according to "African swine fever epidemic contingency plan" to start. Currently, the outbreaks has been effectively controlled.
Much as we saw last year, with the emergence of an HPAI H7N9 virus in Chinese poultry, the Ministry of Agriculture appears to be gearing up for a major offensive against this latest threat.
While couched in the familiar `party language', the following announcement from the MOA indicates just how seriously they are taking this threat.
Video conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Full deployment of national African piglet prevention and control work
Date: 2018-08-07 15:28 Author: Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Press Office
On August 7, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs held an emergency video conference on the prevention and control of African swine fever. Vice Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Kang Zhenjiang tune in all localities to conscientiously implement the important instructions of the central leading comrades of the spirit, unify their thinking, the implementation of comprehensive prevention and control measures to strengthen joint prevention and control mechanism, and resolutely stamp out and eradicate African swine fever epidemic as soon as possible, in order to stabilize the pig industry healthy development to provide strong protection.
A few days ago, a pig swine epidemic occurred in the Shenbei New District of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province. This is the first time that an African swine fever has occurred in China. The meeting pointed out that China will pass in front of African swine fever in ideology, policy and technology to make a solid long-term preparations. After the diagnosis of the epidemic, the Party Central Committee and the State Council attached great importance to it. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs sent a working group to Shenyang to guide the epidemic disposal work, and issued the second-level warning of African swine fever to the society. In all concerned Gongtongnuli, as of now, the epidemic in the affected areas and culling of all pigs in the work has been completed, the epidemic has been effectively controlled.
The meeting clearly the next period of time, control strategies sudden outbreak of African swine fever are: implementing the "strengthening leadership and close coordination, relying on science, prevention and control law, mass prevention and control, decisive disposal," the 24 word prevention and control policy, strengthen border Anti-blocking, strictly guarding the first line of defense; extensive investigation, early detection, quick response, strict disposal, full eradication, rapid recovery and maintaining the country's disease-free state.
The meeting requested that all localities should do a good job of implementing key measures. It is necessary to fully implement monitoring and investigation, strengthen emergency response, strictly supervise law enforcement, strengthen popular science propaganda, and strengthen scientific and technological support and veterinary drug supervision. It is necessary to further strengthen departmental cooperation, strengthen joint prevention and control, and form a joint force of prevention and control. At the same time, it is necessary to continuously improve the veterinary health management capacity, guide farmers to strengthen biosafety management, and promote the transformation and upgrading of the hog industry.
(Agricultural and Rural Department website Wa Kee)
So far only one outbreak (in Liaoning Province) has been confirmed, which has reportedly been controlled. Checks of surrounding farms have - according to reports - not turned up any additional cases.
Enhanced surveillance, both in Liaoning Province, and across the country, will be needed to determine if the virus has spread farther.
But even if no other farms are found currently infected - if the virus has gotten any kind of foothold in China's wild boar population - reintroduction into commercial pig farms down the road will be a constant threat.